What are the best packing tips you have?
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I have found the best packing methods (I am a flight attendant, so I am constantly packing) is to roll your clothes tightly in your suitcase. I just returned from a vacation in Thailand. I went with my friend who is a flight attendant for American Airlines and I couldn't believe how much she packed into her bag. Her secret was to roll everything. You put your shoes at the bottom and roll all the clothes on top. I also recommend putting anything that can leak into plastic bags.
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lol....coastalsusan, you took the words right out of my mouth, "roll" lol....
I pick a couple of colors and stick to them. That way you can mix and match all of your outfits and not have to bring as many clothing items. I went on a caribbean cruise in january, and chose orange and white as my primary colors. I had a couple of pairs of jeans, some white pants, some white tops, some orange tops, an orange skirt, a white skirt, a green skirt, a white blazer and a green blazer. Limiting your color palette also means that you don't have to bring as many shoes. I brought 2 dresses with me, one formal and one fun, and both were orange. So my orange shoes matched everything. I also had a pair of white shoes, and that was it. My makeup bag was also limited to colors that I like to wear with orange. It was nice not having to bring complete outfits for every day, especially since we were doing active shore excursions that required us changing for dinner. I certainly could not have packed 2 complete sets of clothing for 7 days in my one bag! So I washed some stuff on the cruise. If you have the opportunity to have clothing laundered while on a trip, it really helps to save space.
I take very exotic vacations and I line my duffel bag with a large plastic leaf bag. Then I pack one pair of slacks, 2 shirts, 2 changes of underwear..... in a two gallon plastic bag. That is enough clothes for 2 days. You can put the soiled clothes back in the same bag. I have to take a bag for wet clothes when I go the rain forest. All liquids go in plastic bags, each bottle in a sandwich bag, then all go in a gallon bag. All plastic bags are clear except for the leaf bag. When I go to the rain forest our luggage may end up sitting on the tarmac in the rain, the reason for lining the duffel. If you don't travel to exotic places the 2 gallon bags are still great for kids packing. Everything is organgized and visible.
Just pack ONE of everything. In other words, one tank top, one short sleeve shirt, one long sleeve shirt, one pair of shorts, one (or two) pairs of pants, one dressy outfit, one pair of walking shoes, etc. Of course this doens't apply to underwear or socks.
I am going to go to Puerta Vallarta for a week in August. I plan to roll (of course) my clothing but I am also taking some clothes/shoes that I don't want anymore. Once I wear them, I will leave them there, leaving room in my suitcase for souvenirs and possibly lightening the load for the return home.
NKitty, that's what I do also. An American doctor living in the Amazon Rain Forest told me she gave her laundry woman a couple of T shirts. The next day she told the Doctor, she cut them up and made panties, she was so proud of her panties. Makes me think I should leave my panties also. Sounds nasty, but they would probably appreciate them.
I usually wear dry-fit clothes (like UnderArmour) and bring maybe 2 shirts, 2 pants and roll them. I can wash them easily in my room (I backpack it) and they dry quickly (overnight) or if you get rained on. They don't usually wrinkle. I buy dark colors to hide spills and they usually look classier if trying to get into a European opera house, etc. I also depend on layering--will bring light-weight coats that can wad up into the size of my fist.
All toiletries are in freezer bags and double-bagged if is a liquid.
Heavy stuff should be packed at the bottom of your bag.
Make copies of your important documents (passport, etc) and keep them in your bag too in case you lose your originals.
Always take at least 2 pairs of comfortable shoes. If you get caught in the rain, it can be DAYS before your shoes are wearable again (I know this for a fact--LOL).
I always save up my ratty underwear, take them on vacation, and toss them out.
I also save my soap slivers for traveling. Because of allergies, I have to take my own soap. It's easier to take a bunch of the little 'ends'--especially if you're moving hotels frequently (road trip!). You don't have to remember to pack up the soap each day.
And always pack an extra tote bag or two, if you're a shopper. Can't tell you how many times I've ended up buying an extra bag or suitcase when I've been on vacation.
I bring paperback books to read. I can pick up several at a garage sale, after I have read them, I give them away. On my last trip to China, we gave them to the restaurant manager who was very glad to get them. I gave away a new pair of shoes that really didn't fit well. I leave books at the airport, on planes, offer them to people. Its surprising how happy people are to get foreign language books.
But if you know that the new paperback by Mary Higgins Clark is $23 in Australia and not available in China, its understandable. there was just one foreign language bookstore in Beijing--and not much selection. YOu could certainly get Wuthering Heights and Jane Austin but those must have been murder to read if you were just learning English.
Often I will take a duplicate robe and leave it behind. That gives me space for any new items. I buy tote bags from stores in each country and can use them not only coming home but at stores here. Sometimes I bring sun hats I no longer care about which I can wear if I don't see anything better at the destination.